Book Review: Journey of Hope: A Novel of Triumph and Heartbreak on the Oregon Trail in 1852, Victoria Murata

Journey of Hope Cover


Journey of Hope: A Novel of Triumph and Heartbreak on the Oregon Trail in 1852, Victoria Murata

Summary from

“When the invitation comes for a new life and urgency calls for better opportunities, how does one answer? History is peopled with those who have left the comfort of the known world to embark on journeys where their footprints have left permanent markers on the future. Against impossible odds they have followed their dreams, trusting in the unseen providence that births a new land from the womb of the old world behind them, and in their journeying they come to realize that everything that is has needed their participation. Their lives already lived are held in reverence by those who come after and who hold them up like beacons illuminating the wide and timeless expanse of eternity.

In Journey of Hope, Three young women leave Independence Missouri in the spring of 1852 on a wagon train bound for the Oregon territory. Brenna and her family are Irish immigrants. Rebecca travels with her large family from Iowa. Emily is a young bride traveling with her husband Ernest. Six months and two thousand miles later they reach their destination much changed from who they were when they started. Daily life on the wagon train is challenging. Cholera is rampant, crime not unheard of, and death is an ever present visitor. Their hopes and fears are realized in unforgettable experiences of love and loss. Through it all they form a bond with each other that will last a lifetime and encompass the vast and untamed regions of the heart.”

Historic fiction has become a bit of an obsession for me as of late, that with Time-Travel Romances I am hooked on two new Genres of books I never would have registered as interesting previously.  However, sometimes curiosity gets the best of us, and we jump into reading a book without a second thought of the genre we normally read, and I am very happy I took that risk with this particular book.  I picked-up this book from my listing of daily free kindle books and it looked interesting, the cover picture grabbed my attention, the summary seemed interesting, so off to the Kindle it went, only to be put on the back burner until my ‘to be read & reviewed’ pile shrunk some.  Well that day is long off, so I decided in between books to read for review I would read something light and just to keep my mind off the mundane tasks of everyday life, so I scrolled through my Kindle content and came back to this one time and time again.  I am very pleased I did and very happy I took the time to read this novel.

The Oregon Trail has generated many many stories, some of crime, some of romance, some of belief, but all tied back to the life on the trail.  As children we played a video game where we tried to survive life on a train traveling the Trail, some of us made it, others did not – this game ironically reflected real life, as we’ve read about it in the many books written on the subject.  Life on the trail was hard, especially if you were a woman, a child, or the elderly.  Disease traveled with those in these trains, and sometimes those who began the journey full of hope did not make it to their final destination.  The author does an amazing job of pulling the reader in, she details everything from the big wide prairie to the interiors of the wagon’s of the three main women the story follows.  She makes it easy for the reader to follow the storyline, telling it beautifully from a third person perspective, capturing us on the tales of love, dispute, illness, despair, and death sometimes.  When a character we had become attached to passes, the reader’s heart yearns and grieves along with those in the story itself.  A beautifully written tale sticks as close to the documented history as it possibly can while engaging the reader wholeheartedly.

Five out of Five Stars!  If you love historic fiction, you will love this one!

About the Author:

Victoria Murata


“What’s my favorite all-time book? I used to say The Heart is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers. Recently I re-read it and no, I wouldn’t say that anymore. It’s still beautifully written and it hasn’t changed. It’s me who’s much changed from who I was in college a long time ago.
I used to never quit on a book. I would stick with it till the end, always thinking that it would redeem itself. Not any more. I’ll usually give it until I’ve read 25% and if it hasn’t moved me in some way by then, bye-bye! I grew up in St. Cloud, Minnesota, a college town of (then) about 40,000 people. As a child and young adult, I spent summers engaged in active pursuits within a stone’s throw of the Mississippi River. After graduating from high school, I attended St. Cloud State College where I received a degree in education. I spent two years teaching in a lovely small town in southeastern Minnesota before moving to Albuquerque, NM where I attended the University of New Mexico and obtained a Master’s Degree in education. I taught mostly middle school English and History for another 28 years and retired in 2003. I still live in Albuquerque and I have two children and four grandchildren and spend my time traveling, sailing with my husband in our 38′ sailboat, doing service projects at my church and playing with my grandchildren”

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